August 21, 2005
Asia Screeches at the Top of Its Lungs
This 30s nature adventure documentary is the Asian version of Africa Speaks. Its somewhat less offensive than the other film, since the natives are treated respectfully for the most part (with the exception of a romantic couple that stages a silly wedding) and at least some of the animal killing does not seem to be gratuitous. This actually looks like it was quite dangerous to make, as there are tigers, leopards, panthers, pythons, and stampeding elephants around every turn, and there are some actual scenes of people getting seriously injured by them. Most upsetting is their treatment of the monkeysin one scene we see one get captured and humiliated seemingly only because it was annoying, though they do tell us they let it go later (I think they doits hard to tell because theres a cut in the soundtrack at that point), and in another scene we see a monkey almost being squeezed to death by a python. Granted, thats nature for you, but since they go on to tell us that they rescued the monkey and kept it for a pet, the amount of time we see it getting squeezed by the python seems gratuitous. This film certainly doesnt meet todays standards for animal treatment, environmental practices, or cultural sensitivity, but it moves. And it gives us a peek into the wild jungles of Asia back in the days when wild animals were really abundant, giving the film historical value.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
September 25, 2004
A lively jungle experience!
Beyond Bengal is a fun experience, but a dubious one too.
To the first part of my statement, it's very interesting to see how a group of people out of the 3rd world with a poor fortune & white man as leader get through a jungle without any real reason. They get many chances to lose life by crossing the path with dangerous animals, some tigers, more elephants (also I'm a bit confused of this, I thought they are peaceful creatures, well it's good that this scene is short) & "the star villain" the crocodiles, they are at least 50, they seem to be many.
The movie is a bit untypical because it makes use of a documentary style, so a narrator (one that doesn't goes on your nerves with a pleasant voice and who knows when he has to shut up) tells you that everything what you see happened like this. Often his arguments aren't very convincing, but I hadn't really probems with that, so it didn't damaged the experience of this movie.
Maybe you caught that, this movie has some logical dowsides. First, this guys haven't really a reson to take a journey through the jungle (Oh well, I know I'm stupid, of course the reason was to make this film...), the aggressive elephants & the reason why they have to take the way through the crocodile river (the lady has feaver & would die after 10 days if they wouldn't find a doctor. Ok, & risk many more lifes...) There are surely more, but I don't like to count all of them.
This movie especially suceeds in showing us a vey lively jungle. No documentary film I know could make it like that. There are many small details to look at.
So, and now to the dubious part: Is this a snuff film?
Not a easy question to answer, but let's go on with logic: I realized that when the hunters took the dead animals body it seemed really light. Either I missed the man muscles they could have or this aren't the real animals. So I think they used faked "dead bodies". Hm, maybe I also have no plan how much such a body weights but I think I'm not that far from my guess.
But what's with the attacked humans?
Another story, but it wouldn't make much sense when animals doesn't get killed but humans. Whe I think about it I realize that no tiger attacks a man nor does a elephant directly. Only crocodiles bite often some men, but there could be the possibility that some guy dived & controlled a crocodile puppet, but you never know.
So, animal lovers don't need to have bad feelings when they see this movie, and people who hate humans, the nature of them, and could kill themselves because they are also one, will have great fun with that motion picture!
One last word of warning though: This copy isn't the best. Maybe this isn't even the master. The picture jumps often & the sounds cuts apruptly more than just a few times. Then after 40 minutes there is the ood thing that first the screen is blank, then numbers count down and the movies continues. Strange...
So, because of that, I only give it 4 stars.
Who can live with that will really find a gem in this movie.
A even longer, but more subjective review is on the imdb.com-page
(Did I mention that "its Highness" looks like a server?)